A Message from Rev. Paula+
Beloved Community,

This week, I am attending the Festival of Homiletics, perhaps the preeminent preaching conference in the country.  It's a conference I've always wanted to attend but have never been able to manage, mostly due to the challenges of my pre-St. Stephen's bi-vocational schedule, and partly because it is fairly expensive as it is usually done.  This year, however, it is free and it is online.  What a gift it has been.

Yesterday in one of the workshops, the speaker said something that touched my heart.  He said one of the functions of preaching is to give people "a glimpse of the possibility that God's way will break through."   I realized in that moment that these words capture beautifully something I have been thinking and feeling and failing to articulate well since we began our fast from in-person gathering.  In the midst of all that we are going through, because we are going through it, we have unusual - dare I say unprecendented? - opportunities to experience grace, both for ourselves and as this community, in ways that would not be possible at any other time. 

The realities of living our faith in a time of pandemic means that we are forced to think and act with expansive creativity, to look deeply and intentionally at what it is that matters most, what it is that makes us Church.  It is not an easy process, even all these weeks later when we have figured out how to do so many things differently.  When so much of what we have has been stripped away, it can seem that all that is left is anxiety, worry, loss, frustration, fear, loneliness - so many ways to describe the feeling of disconnection and uncertainty that is part of living with this dastardly virus.  And yet, we are Easter people, people of the Resurrection, whose very faith is grounded in the reality of life after death.  We believe the words of Revelation 21:5: "And the one who was seated on the throne said, 'See, I am making all things new.' Also he said, 'Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true."  

I do believe the words I heard yesterday, though I know them to be true for more than just those of us who happen to do the preaching.  Living our faith always, even in a time of pandemic, means that we open the eyes of our heart so that we glimpse the ways that God is working in and through us, in all things, at all times.  

Peace & Blessings,
Paula+
Zoom Coffee Hour
We miss you!  We are impatient to see your face and hear your voice.  We are pretty sure you miss seeing and talking to each other, too.  

So...we invite you to Zoom Coffee Hour!  Each Sunday at 11:00 AM, we'll open the Zoom space so that we can be together again.  Watch the service at 10:00 AM, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, and join the fun.  We'll be around from 11:00 to noon.

We're not trying to exclude anyone and we want to be sure that our time is not interrupted by Zoom bombing or other unwelcome attention.  So if you want to join us (We sure hope you do!), send an email to Rev. Paula at rector@ststephensmillburn.org by 10:45 AM that morning and she'll respond with the log in information.  Don't be surprised to find yourself in a waiting room.  Barbara Riedel or Rev. Paula will let you in.

Reading with the Rector
Our next Reading with the Rector via Zoom is scheduled for Sunday, June 7, 2020 at 12:15 PM. We will be discussing the Sermons of the late Bishop Barbara C. Harris as published in Parting Words: A Farewell Discourse, Cowley Publications, 2003.

The sermons can be found on the St. Stephen's website here.  And you can access the Zoom meeting information from the website calendar here.  We hope you will join us!

From Bishop Hughes
Bishop Hughes' vlog for May 20th may be found here.

This week's The Voice Online may be found here.

To read Bishop Hughes' Covid-19 guidelines, as well as other news from around the diocese, look here.

ZOOM MEETINGS WITH THE BISHOP
Bishop Hughes has hosted two lay Zoom conversations and is now  inviting all  college students of the diocese  to a Zoom  call on  WEDNESDAY, MAY 27 at 4:00 PM.   She would like to speak with students who were sent home from college mid-semester due to them shutting down. 

Canon Margo Clark will join the Bishop on this call and they look forward to an interactive conversation on that date! If you know a college student who would like to join this call, please have them email the parish office at church@ststephensmillburn.org for the login information.

CHURCH LEADER ZOOMiversity (AKA Church Leader University)
SATURDAY, MAY 30, 9 - 11:30 AM


Workshops relevant to this extraordinary time for ALL congregational leaders! 

Stay at home and join us online via computer, tablet or smart phone. 

There is no cost, but we do need you to register. 

Online registration will be available starting 8 AM, Monday, May 18.

Rev. Paula will be facilitating a conversation about grief and healing.


Faithful Outreach


As we continue to navigate these challenging times, we want to continue to live our faith in some of the familiar ways, even though we can't be together.  The number of individuals and families who are homeless or are facing homelessness is at an all time high due to the current pandemic.  And the need for food and supplies to nourish and sustain these families, even more so.  So we have organized the following ways for our congregation, friends and family to continue our mission of helping those in need.

1. Apostles' House Food Barrel - A weather-proof collection bin will be placed outside at St. Stephen's under the roof of the Narthex parking lot entry door.  Canned goods and non-perishable food items can be dropped off at any time and will be delivered to Apostles' House.

2. North Porch Women & Infants' Centers - A second collection bin will be available for North Porch donations.  Right now they are in urgent need of the following:
  • Enfamil 12.5 oz powdered baby formula and soy formula, and Enfamil infant (yellow label) 21.1 oz
  • Diapers especially Large sizes - 4, 5, 6, and Pull-ups of all sizes
  • Baby wipes
  • Jars of baby food - all ages- fruit, veggie and 1st foods
3. Online Ordering/Donations - If you are unable to drop off items at the church, and would like to contribute, you can make purchases and/or donations online directly to these organizations. PLEASE NOTE: North Porch prefers you use their AmazonSmile link for direct product donations.

The Apostles' House Food Pantry

North Porch Women and Infant Centers
Donation link & information: http://www.northporch.org/make-a-donation/#needs

4. Christine's Kitchen, Holy Trinity Church, West Orange - St. Stephen's will be providing 120 bagged lunches on Saturday, May 30.  Thank you to all who have committed to donating them thus far.  For more information, please email Deryck Rugbeer at deryck.rugbeer@ubs.com.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the parish office at  church@ststephensmillburn.org or  rector@ststephensmillburn.org.

Ecumenical Memorial Service to Lives Lost During COVID-19


SUNDAY, MAY 24, 6 PM

Christian denominational leaders from the National Council of Churches USA will offer words of lament, comfort, encouragement, and hope during a public Ecumenical Memorial Service to remember the lives of those lost so far in the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.  The memorial will include a sermon offered by the presiding bishop of The Episcopal Church, the Right Reverend Michael B. Curry and will be broadcast on YouTube and Facebook Live.

This virtual memorial service will also include a listing of the names of many of those whom we have lost, inspirational music, scripture readings, a sermonic reflection and space for grieving. You are invited to join this service for this time of remembering, mourning and celebrating the lives of loved ones.

"Religious rituals provide unique ways for us to express o ur feelings and close emotional wounds," said Rev. Dr. John Dorhauer, leader of the United Church of Christ and chair of the NCC Governing Board. "There are gaping needs for this right now. Our hope is that by taking part together in this observance, healing will follow in the hearts and minds of those who are grieving."

To register for this event, click here.
To add a name to the memorial list, click here.

Connection and Common Worship
All of the information you need to remain actively connected to St. Stephen's can be found on the website under the "Living Our Faith in a Time of Pandemic" tab on the top left.  In addition, the ways to join in worship and other activities is also available on the Events Calendar on the website, under News & Events.  Our worship services will be posted to Facebook every Sunday morning and will be available on our new YouTube channel.  

Our Sunday worship service is also broadcast on HTTV (Comcast TV 36 and Verizon TV 33) at 6 AM and 1 PM.  Please be sure to spread the word to your friends and family who do not use the internet.

Audio recordings of the homilies are found here.

FYI - St. Stephen's is on Facebook EVERY DAY!  Join us, and tell your friends and family!  Posts include daily morning and evening prayer, Sunday worship, 'Glory Happening' daily readings and reflections (through May), Children's Chapel on Saturday, and Children's Storytime with Rev. Paula.

Videos of all the posts can easily be accessed from the Facebook video library right here.

Giving in Faith
Thanks to all of you who have been mailing your pledges or giving online using Vanco or Tithe.ly.  Your faithful financial stewardship means we are able to "be Church" in all the ways that we are during this time, while also ensuring that, when the time comes, we are strong and nimble enough to return to our more comfortable and familiar ways.
Resources from the Diocese and Beyond
There are many, many resources available to parishes and individuals to help sustain our faith practices during this unprecedented time.  This is by no means a complete list, though it does cover many areas of need.

The Diocese of Newark has a page dedicated to pastoral messages, informational updates and directives, and resources for use by parishes and people of faith.  You'll find it here.

The Episcopal Church, nationally and internationally, has information on its website, including pastoral messages from Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry.  You'll find it here.  

The National Cathedral livestreams worship and hosts podcasts, all of which can be accessed here.

The Church Publishing Group has made available a free downloadable copy of The Book of Common Prayer.  This is a wonderful way to encourage both a personal prayer discipline and as a support to online worship in which the liturgy is from the BCP.

Church Publishing has also made available until April 15th a wonderful children's book about Compline, Candle Walk by Karin Holsinger Sherman.  If you listened to Rev. Paula's very first Facebook Live event the evening of March 20th, you heard her read this story.  You'l find these and other resources on the company's website or here, an Episcopal News Service link.

Now might be the right time to sign up for a daily, weekly, or monthly devotion.  A couple of our favorites are:
  • The Society of St. John the Evangelist.  The brothers offer wisdom in many ways so please do explore their website.
  • The Center for Action and Contemplation, home of Richard Rohr.  As with SSJE, this is a rich offering of resources so it is best to explore the website.
St. Stephen's Prayer List




Please keep the following 
St. Stephen's family members
and friends in your prayers...

Jeff Loggins
Jimmy Hasenkamp
Ian Janeczko
The McManus Family
The Blanchard Family
Donna Riggi
Bernard & Nathan
The Fitzgerald Family
Jamie Forgacs
Roy Williams
Jack Moreno
Gail Pavlik
Stephanie Gubin
Sue Macbeth
Francis
Christine Conti
Shanisha
Pedro Villagran
Gregory Shuss
Carolyn Romano
Kenneth Armstrong
Sara Ruth Dorn

Lectionary

This Week:  May 24
 

Next Week:  May 31


Links to the Wider Church

The Episcopal Diocese of Newark







The Episcopal Church









The Presiding Bishop








Giving with Tithe.ly
Giving with Tithe.ly is easy, with options for one-time or recurring donations.  We encourage you to consider it at all times, but especially when you are away for any reason, like all of us now with the restrictions due to coronavirus.

There are two ways to do it:  thru  tithe.ly.com  or the  tithe.ly  app on your smart phone.  You'll want to search for St. Stephen's Church Millburn.  Be sure to have the correct punctuation. You'll know you're there when you see: St. Stephen's Church Millburn and the address. Once you're at the church's page, follow the prompts.  
Office Hours and Contact Information

Office hours: Until we are through this public health emergency, there are NO office hours.  Please call Rev. Paula to arrange for pastoral care or if you have any reason to come to the office. She'll work with you to figure out a safe way to manage this.

Phone: 973.376.0668  
Fax: 973.376.4002
Website: ststephensmillburn.org
Main email: church@ststephensmillburn.org
Follow us on:  FacebookInstagram and  Pinterest

Doreen Schindler, Parish Administrator can be reached at ext. 32 or
church@ststephensmillburn.org.

The Rev. Paula J. Toland, Rector can be reached at ext. 21 or 
rector@ststephensmillburn.org.
She is an occasional blogger at fromthestillness.